It was reported last month that India is getting a ‘911’ like emergency number starting next year. Now, the provision for the emergency number has been approved by the Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The single emergency number ‘112’ will be operational from January 1, 2017 and will help people reach immediate services of police, ambulance and fire department. All existing emergency numbers such as police (100), fire brigade (101), ambulance (102) and Emergency Disaster Management (108), will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility. In addition, telecom operators have been asked to redirect all the calls to existing numbers to 112.
The single emergency number will be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended. At present, the process to direct calls made on to 112 to concerned departments is being worked out. A user will be able to make communication even through SMS and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre. The emergency service calls will also be supported through a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language.
In addition to the panic button, phones will have GPS systems, beginning in 2018.